Tag Archives: Social media

Are Followers Real or Fake?

Marketers are under increasing pressure to increase a brand’s number of followers. Of course, marketers want the followers to be real and involved, but what if that isn’t possible? Well, there are companies that sell followers on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. However, all is not as it seems. Many companies sell the names, profiles, pictures, and other details of real users, but with some variations, and unbeknownst to the actual user who is being impersonated. The result: fake users are sold to many companies to help increase the tweets, retweets, likes, etc.

All social media platforms seem to be infected with fake users. According to a recent article in the New York Times, nearly 15% of Twitter’s active users (48 million) are actually automated accounts that simulate a real person. And, in November 2017, Facebook stated to investors that it has twice as many fake users than it had previously estimated, bringing the count to roughly 60 million fake accounts.

The fake accounts are known as ‘bots’ and can be used to build audiences and influence opinions. The bots are purchased for the purpose of increasing the followers, and thus the influence of the person or brand purchasing the bots. Bots can be programmed to post at a scheduled time, monitor trends and post as needed, and amplify clients’ accounts by following, retweeting, and like tweets.

Which would you rather have: real, engaged followers or bots that are not engaged?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Begin by having students read recent news articles about fake users. Here is an article by the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/27/technology/100000005704904.app.html?emc=edit_ta_20180127&nl=top-stories&nlid=65703977&ref=cta
  2. Why is this an issue in digital marketing?
  3. How does the topic of “fake users” impact the marketplace?
  4. Should companies/brands “buy” followers? Why or why not?
  5. How valuable are followers in digital marketing?
  6. What would you do if told to increase followers? Would you buy them?
  7. Have students go online and research “how to buy followers.” What are their findings?

Source: Confessore, N., Dance, G., Harris, R., & Hansen, M. (27 January, 2018). The follower factory. New York Times.

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TED Talk: China and the Future of Shopping

We all know that technology has changed the shopping experience. Instead of going into brick-and-mortar stores, or in addition to going into brick-and-mortar stores, shoppers now turn to PCs and mobile devices. Not only that, technology has changed our shopping behavior even when we are IN a store. This is true world-wide, but the future of shopping is here today in China.

In this TED Talks video, Angela Wang, a retail expert with firm BCG, explores the broad range of shopping services available online in China. In China, everything takes place on smart phones; 500 million Chinese consumers regularly use their mobile devices for purchasing goods and services. Think about that number – 500 million people. As Wang states, that is the combined population of the U.S., U.K, and Germany! And, all this has happened in only the last five years.

China’s technology firms are also powerhouses. Alibaba and Tencent own 90% of China’s e-commerce market, 85% of its social media, 85% of its Internet payments, along with diverse digital content, video, movies, literature, gaming and more.

Key trends that Wang sees in China shopping patterns are a growth in spontaneity, co-creation of products, ultra-convenience, and social shopping. Using WeChat, the mobile shopping journey in China far surpasses the U.S.

Marketers can learn a lot of lessons from this informative talk.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss with students that while the buying process may vary slightly for different products and target markets, the basic 5-step process is problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior. Is this still the correct model?
  2. Discuss the changes that the students have made in their own shopping behavior. How do they use mobile devices to shop? Map the journey on the board.
  3. Show the TED Talk video. Make sure students pay attention to the end of the talk when the shopping journey is explained (9:00 minute mark): https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_wang_how_china_is_changing_the_future_of_shopping/transcript
  4. How does the Chinese shopping journey compare to the traditional U.S. consumer model?
  5. For a product, have students work on the actions taken in each of the five steps in the traditional model. Then have them work out the steps of the Chinese model.
  6. Debrief the exercise.

Source: TED Talks

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YouTube Ads Leaderboard: 2017

Starting a new year is a good time to examine the winning campaigns from last year. The most compelling advertisements and videos are ones that have a strong story, humor, inspiration, and excitement. They build a bond with the audience, and inspire thoughts and action. It’s not easy to create a short video that engages audiences and inspires them to share the video and view it more than once, so it is worth examining the top ad videos from 2017.

Here are the most viral brand videos posted to YouTube in 2017. Combined, these five videos have generated more than 436 million views last year!

  1. Samsung India Service: 150+ million views
  2. Clash Royale: The Last Stand: 111+ million views
  3. Oreo’s Ping Pong Trick Shot: 100+ million views
  4. MISS DIOR – The new Eau de Parfum: 47+ million views
  5. Budweiser Super Bowl 2017 – Born the Hard Way: 28+ million views

Remember, these are the ads that people choose to watch. An algorithm factors in organic and paid views, watch time, and audience retention.

Which ads do you choose to watch online?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of branding and brand management. How do the videos fit into branding?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team analyze one of the following videos with respect to target market, key message, type of appeal, etc. All ads are available at: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/advertising-channels/video/youtube-leaderboard-year-end-2017/?&YTgenre=ads&ContentType=year-end-ads-leaderboard&feature=Inp-em-ad210-us-a-OT-OT&utm_medium=email-d&utm_source=newsletter&utm_team=youtube-usa&utm_campaign=20171206-youtube-usa-ytr-weekly-a&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTWpVeVkyWTRPRFUzWVRrMSIsInQiOiJTTEp1QVVWTGJKN1RzNmU1Y2tKclpOXC9rTDc4dmw1aG1tOXNqT3N4RWc2elRZUUtJNHNLWkRCUzVpRDlJU25pRUNCWFF5WFdwMmt1Rk5reWZKTXo4eE5xbjJYbUhrOE9ub2p4UXhaUGh6UnhudERDUEorMHVQUVdCSjJGUmpYeWcifQ%3D%3D
  3. When teams have completed this, have each team show the video and discuss their analysis with the rest of the class.
  4. What are the commonalities between the videos? What are the differences?
  5. What should other companies do to replicate the success?

Source:  Think with Google. YouTube ads leaderboard: Global year-end 2017.

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